Sunday, June 17, 2007

Why the desire?

Why the hunger for God? If He isn't real, or just the mere product of human imagination, why have we - for thousands and thousands of years (anthropologically speaking) - been a species to bury our dead with ritual and ceremony? Why do the majority of human beings living on the planet believe in some kind of deity or life after death? Could so many be fooled at once? Sometime ago Skeptic Magazine reported that at the turn of twentieth century, the expectation was to see a significant decrease in the number of people who adhered to a theistic philosophy - that number actually increased. In the book Why God Wont Go Away, Andy Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili indicate that the human brain has a natural propensity to engage in religious practices and experiences. Why, in the evolutionary history of the human species, has such a practice increased with the modernization of industrialized society?

Sometimes in my own personal search for God, I might incorrectly seek affirmations that are too sensational and unrealistic: Perhaps a new image from space or a new discovery in biology flips the scientific community on its head by introducing a new theory, or modifies a pre-existing one to faintly suggest God is real. These expectations would be nice and soothing to a skeptic who wants to believe, but how conceivable are they? Maybe God's omnipotence comes with incomprehensible subtlety and patience. Perhaps I should be looking for a whisper that might contain the answers I'm looking for. That, I think, is much more consistent with his style:)

"Then the LORD said, 'Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.' A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave." - 1 Kings 19 11-13

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Nothing but babble

This past week I decided to revisit some of the literature produced by the famed late poet E.E. Cummings. In the interest of time, I'm not going to delve heavily into biographical data, writing style, or include an excerpta of his works...except one. I'm sure some of you may have read this poem on your own, or heard it recited (very poorly and melodramatically) in movies that sought to commandeer its beautiful romantic imagery. The poem is named after it's first line, "Somewhere I have never traveled" and is one of the most beautiful love poems in the Cummings repertoire. It does remind me of someone close to me, but I've never asked her what she thinks, or if she's even heard of this poem. Anyway, read it and share it with that special someone in your life. Here it is...

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

The lack of punctuation was typical of Cummings, as was the manipulation of syntax.

Disclaimer: Let see, how shall I put this. I'm no different than the regular guys you know, which means I don't specifically like poetry. There are some poems, however, that are amazingly beautiful and you'd have to be a dunderhead not to like.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Finding God

A few years ago I came across a story on CNN that galvanized my interest in science and religion (although the questions related to this subject matter have been combusting inside me since childhood). It featured an interview with Fr. George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory in Arizona, and his experiences as a Jesuit priest and scientist. I have added a link to this site here so that you might read and see the interview for yourselves.